Microsoft Gears Up for Antivirus Efforts

Microsoft announced its intention to acquire the intellectual property and technology assets of Romanian-based antivirus software maker GeCAD Software. Since 1992, GeCAD has grown to serve more than 10 million users in more than 60 countries.

GeCAD's line of antivirus software is well-rounded and supports most popular platforms in use today, including Windows and Microsoft Exchange Server. GeCAD antivirus software also runs on servers such as Groupwise; Linux-based mail servers; file servers such as Samba and Novell Netware, and Instant Messaging (IM) clients including ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, AOL IM, and Trillian. However, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company will discontinue cross-platform support.

Microsoft recently formed a virus information alliance among several major antivirus software vendors, and the company also intends to build its own antivirus research team. But Microsoft has not yet divulged how broadly it will use GeCAD's technology.

The company might use GeCAD technology to help enhance its future Windows File System (WFS) Filter Manager technology, which will be include in future versions of the Windows OS. Microsoft expects the new file system to "simplify antivirus software development and improve overall system reliability by providing an architecture into which antivirus software providers can plug mini-filter drivers. Simplification of the driver code should make it easier for vendors to write reliable drivers."

Viruses, worms, and Trojans constantly plague Microsoft products, so it's highly probable that we'll see the company go beyond file system filtering hooks for third-party vendors. Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Security Business Unit, said, "The acquisition of GeCAD's technology will help secure customers by helping us deliver antivirus solutions for Microsoft products and services." Microsoft hasn't released details about the impending antivirus solution, including it's name, pricing, and timeline for availability.

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